Education: Bill Fletcher 2017 September Newsletter

Cary, NC – Thoughts for September 2017 from Bill Fletcher, Member of the Wake County Board of Education.

Smooth Opening for Traditional Schools!

Another 120,000 students began their new school year on August 28. With few exceptions, schools opened with a clear focus on teaching and learning! Around 160,000+/- students attended, about 740 yellow buses ran 1,900 routes, and more than 10,000 teachers greeted their new charges with smiles and encouragement. Congratulations to all families and staff for a great beginning to a new academic year!

Social Media Threats will NOT be Tolerated!

The calm and business-like opening was marred by two social media posts falsely threatening violence in our schools. These were inappropriate. The District will pursue criminal action and reimbursement for costs in responding to such threats. Parents! Talk with your students and monitor their social media. It’s part of your parental responsibilities. Don’t let your student ruin their future with a stupid post.

Making a Square Peg Fit a Round Hole!

School buildings are built to implement the academic program. Classically, form follows function. There are regular classrooms for core instruction, unique classrooms for art, music, labs and special education, smaller classrooms for intervention, counselors, etc. When the Legislature decided that regular classrooms may only serve 16 to 18 students, an 800 student school became a 672 student school and lost 8 core classrooms.

To implement the state-mandated maximums of 18, 16, 17, 17 students for grades K, 1, 2, 3, Wake’s 113 elementary principals are collaborating on strategies to redefine the use of existing spaces: converting art and music to “art/music on a cart,” changing instructional strategies for academically gifted students and students just learning English, and organizing some students in different grades into combination classes. Each classroom conversion compromises instructional delivery. Each school will have a unique solution. No one solution will work in all 113 schools.

Class Size Mandate will Reduce Parent Choice

About 24% of Wake’s students attend a school other than their base school. There are 7,100 transfers, 2,270 grandfathered and 8,600 attending a “calendar option.” After making all of the facility accommodations possible, schools may still need to reduce student headcount. Options include sending transfer students back to their base-assigned schools, cancelling grandfather status or assigning one or more subdivisions to different schools that have available seats within the state mandate.

Explore a Cornucopia of Educational Options including Multi-Track “magnet” seats!

The WCPSS Magnet Fair is November 4, 9:00 AM to noon, at Southeast Raleigh High School. Come and explore challenging and differentiated program opportunities for students of all ages. Explore the options for multi-track (year round) education, International Baccalaureate Programme, gifted and talented, AIG, STEM, Engineering, Creative Arts & Sciences, Covey/Leadership, career & technical options, early colleges and more.

Factoid #35

State budget writers heard our plea and allocated additional funding for bus drivers. With $2.2M in state funding, Wake raised starting driver pay to $13.11/hour. Drivers will now reach the $15/hour rate within 7 years as opposed to 13 years previously. It’s a good step and more is needed. Kudos to Rep Nelson Dollar for his support. BTW: We still need more bus drivers! Apply here!

Parent chats (except on holidays)

1st Thursday – 1 PM
Cary Chamber, 315 N Academy St., Cary

3rd Monday – 11 AM
Caribou Coffee shop, 109 SW Maynard Rd., Cary

Bill Fletcher school || Voice Mail: 919-694-8843 || Mobile: 919-880-5301

Story by Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education. Photo by MizLit.